A part of the Santa Monica Mountain used to be known as “Ni**er-Head Mountain,” The area of the mountain then changed to Negro-Head Mountain and later to “Ballard Mountain” for John Ballard, a Los Angeles Black pioneer.
Ballard arrived in the Santa Monica Mountains in the 1880s. Before settling there, he ran a small delivery business in Los Angeles and was well-known throughout the community. He also co-founded the city’s first African Methodist Episcopal Church.
However, the arrival of the railroad into Los Angeles soon upped the property values of the white settlers. The white townspeople wanted Ballard and his family out of the city. They harassed him, burned his business, and whatever property he owned. Ballard moved his family 5o miles away and purchased 300-acre of land. The area quickly became known as “Ni**er-head Mountain by the white settlers.
The name remained for decades until the 1960’s when the name was changed to Negro-head Mountain. Years later, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, sponsored the motion to request the name change, That’s when the U.S. Geological Survey changed the name, at the request of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to Ballard Mountain.